Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Parental Satisfaction with Early Intervention Services for Children with Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities in Greece

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Parental Satisfaction with Early Intervention Services for Children with Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities in Greece

Article excerpt

Introduction

Early Intervention (EI) is a composition of services for very young children and their families which are provided in order to ensure and improve personal development, to strengthen the adequacy of the family and promote the social integration of families and children. The most important characteristics of EI are the early age of the child and the combination of services provided. The EI philosophy stresses the importance of interaction of different services involved on child development with the active participation of parents (Chen, 1999; Hospers-Blauw & Algra-Hadders, 2005; Iversen, Shimnel, Ciacera, & Prabhakar, 2003).

According to literature, EI results in significant benefits for children. More specifically EI supports the communication, play and behavior of children. Greatest impacts are mention when parents are involved in the intervention and when children are younger than 3 years (Bailey et al., 2005; Hospers-Blauw & Algra-Hadders, 2005).

An important criterion for the success of EI, is the forming of partnerships with families and working collaboratively with them. Service providers and family members learn from each other and use shared strategies in their interactions with their child. A true team approach is created where parents and EI providers develop interventions to promote the child's development. Given that families know their child the best, they have the information needed to guide the EI provider in the development of an effective and individualized educational program. (Chen, 1999; McWilliam et al., 1995, Horn, 2012).

Moreover, when EI providers listen carefully to families concerns about their children and respond by providing strategies then families are supported in caring for them. As a result, parents learn to read their child's communicative signals and interact in more developmentally facilitative ways (Brooks-Cuun, Berlin, & Fuligui, 2000; Chen, 1999; Ozkan & Sucouglou, 2011; Pechat, Lefebvre, Proulx, & Reidy, 2004). Therefore, it is essential for services of EI to be evaluated consequently. Regular assessment provides feedback for the appropriate design of EI programs in order to support each child needs and each family priorities.

In more detailed, a child's disability is often associated with significant stress for parents. Difficulties in finding appropriate and affordable child care, lack of knowledge, inability in allocation of time are some of the common problems which increase emotional stress. EI can help by providing support and information so that parents will feel able to respond to the needs of their child and to encourage it to become autonomous in all daily activities such as eating, dressing and bathing (Kaaresen, Rouning, Ulvund, & Dahi, 2005; Ozkan & Sucouglou, 2011). Moreover, EI can provide the appropriate guidance to the parents in order to have access to all social services and information regarding their rights and their children's facilities (Bailey, Hebbeler, Scarborough, Spiker, & Malik, 2004; Bailey et al., 2005; Bailey et al., 2011).

The important role of the family contributed to the change of the philosophy of EI service which altered from child centered to family centered (Iversen, Shimnel, Ciacera, & Prabhakar, 2003; Mahoney & Filer, 1996). Intervention within the home environment was considered a first step towards creating with families a positive working alliance which allowed parents to engage in their children's development. In home environment parents feel they have better control and EI providers become more familiar to family culture and living conditions (Dunst, 2009).

Although the role of the family has been recognized in the field of EI, limited number of studies has assessed the satisfaction that parents feel with the services that EI provide (Favez, Metral, & Govaerts, 2008; Rodger, Keen, Braithwaite, & Cook, 2006). According to Favez, Metral, and Govaerts (2008) satisfaction refers to a global, positive, one-dimensional appraisal of a situation taken as a whole, or it can be considered domain specific. …

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